Joy and Happiness
Reflection from Fr. Michael McCandles
Reflection from Brooke
Happiness, if anything, can feel confusing.
Our senses are overwhelmed with messages, songs, images, opinions and rhetoric on what brings happiness. From the screens we watch to the ones we read, advertisers promise they can fill our longings with their miracle products and solutions.
Justin Timberlake tells me that he has sunshine in his pocket. Sheryl Crow promises that if it makes me happy, it can’t be that bad. Bobby McFerrin lazily chants -- don’t worry; be happy.
But Father Michael offers a different perspective. He proposes that if we have the right desires, we will have the right destinations.
I have personally never heard a pop song that had my right desires or eternal glory in mind.
Father says that we often seek temporal (earthly, passing) pleasures but challenges whether it will satisfy our true longings. He says that the pleasure of this earthly life isn’t wrong but it also isn’t lasting.
“Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness:
When I am completely united to you, there will be no more sorrow or trials; entirely full of you, my life will be complete. (St. Augustine). (Catechism 45)
Jesus speaks to us about happiness in Matthew, Chapter 5 through the Beatitudes. Happiness isn’t something we possess let alone put in our pocket. It is a product of living with Jesus and cannot be manufactured. It is found through seeking righteousness, humility, purity, and meekness and through our mourning, the mercy we share and the peace we seek.
Joy is a gift and the result of having ‘right desire’. Being in the proximity of Jesus like the baby John in the womb of Elizabeth or when He breathes upon his apostles after the Resurrection-- this brings us joy. Working with what God wants us to do and cooperating with where He wants us to be is what brings a fruit of The Holy Spirit that cannot be stolen by another.
Where we find ourselves these days threatens our happiness and our joy. Left in isolation, the enemy begins to work on us and we begin to question whether we can ever feel happy or normal again. We mourn the loss of our freedom and our past life and wonder if this isolation will stretch into eternity.
The antidote for this spiritual attack then is to ask what our desires are because if we have the right desire we will have the right destination. And if we walk with God towards the destination He desires for us, we will find joy on the way.
A few questions to ponder in your mind, in your prayer or in your journal.
What do I truly desire? What about my desires is temporal? What about them is eternal? What destination will I come to by seeking these desires?
This Easter we find ourselves locked away from our normalcy and especially from the Sacraments. We are seperated from the families we love and the Church we serve. And yet Christ is near. How is God calling me to walk with Him during this time? What is He asking me to ponder quietly with Him alone?
Find the poem Lead Kindly Light by Cardinal John Henry Newman on the internet. Spend some time reading through it and finding the words that resonate with the fibers of your being. Pick a few words and describe how these words impact you.
A Song for your Soul
How Can I Keep From Singing
A Friend to Walk With
St. Teresa of Calcutta
You are the source of our joy, You are Eternal Light.
We find ourselves entering this Holy Week in darkness, like You did.
We are shrouded with uncertainty and are so tempted to cling to the promises of this world.
But it is Your promises that stand firm through all time. Open our hearts so we might receive Your promises and Your joy as we walk through Your Passion to glory.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.